THE PCT PLEDGE IS THE OFFICIAL PUBLICATION OF THE PLAINVIEW-OLD BETHPAGE
CONGRESS OF TEACHERS
Volume XXXIX, No. 6 February 11, 2002
STANDARDS - THE NEXT STEP
by PCT President Morty Rosenfeld
Raising the academic standards of the Plainview-Old Bethpage Schools is going to take more than talk. It is going to take hard work by PCT members throughout the district. The officers of the PCT cant make it happen by themselves. All of us are going to have to stand together to think out solutions to the problems that pose barriers to higher achievement for our students. We will also have to work politically to convince all school constituencies of the desirability of recreating our schools as places of serious learning, as places where students are expected to know things. The goal is certainly to have them do "higher order thinking," but we must never forget, as many obviously have, that they must have something worthwhile to think "deeply" about.
At the last two meetings of the PCT Executive Board, the officers of the PCT asked your SRC Reps to work with the members in each building to identify those conditions that mitigate against raising the academic standards of our students and to organize building committees around these issues. Building committees will propose solutions for which the SRC will become advocates with the building administration. Some issues will be district-wide in nature, but we will still be looking for imaginative solutions to bubble up from the buildings to the officers and Executive Board.
Im asking all PCT members to think about how they might contribute their talents and energies to this very important cause. Some of you have told me that you believe it a shame that our union has to struggle to raise the academic bar. The only answer I have is that if we dont struggle, who will?
BOARD OF ED TAKES MOMENTOUS STEP
For quite a few years, the PCT has been attempting to convince the POB Board of Education to provide health insurance to our members who are in domestic partnerships on the same basis as they do for married people. At last, our district has a board that has the wisdom and decency to see the justice of this cause and the courage to act to right a wrong. At the January 28, 2002 meeting of the Board, a motion to provide domestic partner health insurance was passed unanimously.
Members who are in domestic partnerships and wish to provide health insurance to their partners should contact the Business Office for the necessary forms. The forms essentially require the applicant to provide evidence of domestic partnership. These forms must be sent to a state office in Albany for approval. The PCT is led to understand that the process takes several weeks, assuming all of the paper work is properly submitted.
The Constitution of the PCT provides that when there is only one candidate for a union office, the secretary is empowered to cast one ballot for the candidate at a meeting of the Executive Board.
There having been only one candidate for each PCT office, PCT Secretary Judi Alexanderson cast one ballot for each office at the February 5, 2002 meeting of the Executive Board.
The elected officers begin their two terms on July 1, 2002. They are:PCT
*President - Morty Rosenfeld
*Secretary - Judi Alexanderson
*Treasurer - Tracey Gonzalez
*Elementary Vice-President - Lori Stitt
*Middle School Vice-President - Vicki Ahlsen
*High School Vice-President - Cindy Feldman
NEA/NY Convention Delegates - Tom Syrett, Lucy Pedone, Cathy Regan
CUPCT (Clerical Unit)
*President - Lillian Feigenbaum
Vice-President - Lucy Pedone
Secretary - Ronni Pearce
Treasurer - Cathy Regan
SUPCT (Substitute Unit)
Chairperson - Eileen Vein
Secretary/Treasurer - Rose Weiner
Alternate - Ronnie Osofsky
*Automatically delegates to the NEA/New York Convention to take place in the spring of each year.
CUPCT SENIORITY LIST CIRCULATED
Members of the Clerical Unit of the PCT should have received a copy of the updated seniority list for their bargaining unit. Additionally, each CUPCT member received a cover sheet to be filled out by those who believe that their seniority is incorrectly stated on the list. The sheet has two parts. One gets sent to Dr. Greenberg in the Personnel Office and the other to the PCT office.
Each claim of error will be carefully reviewed by the Personnel Office and the PCT, and members will receive written answers to the questions they raise about their seniority.
As this edition of the Pledge was going to press, the PCT Office was deluged with member concerns over the proposed implementation of a new K-8 math program next year. Most of the concerns were from K-4 teachers.
The PCT has been working with Assistant Superintendent Pat Kriss to see to it that the many questions our members have are answered. We are assured that they will be.
The PCT will monitor the process of familiarizing our members with the new program very carefully. Additionally, the officers of our union will be meeting with our members of the Math Committee and those who piloted the program to see if there is anything the PCT can do to make the transition to a new math program more teacher friendly.
RETIREMENT INCENTIVE - THE LATEST
The last edition of the Pledge reported that the only retirement incentive bill currently introduced in the New York State Legislature is the same bill that has been passed in each of the last few years, one which requires public employers to save fifty percent of the difference between the salary of the retiring employee and a replacement in each of two years. Simply put, the formula hasnt worked in POB.
In his recent budget message to the New York State Legislature, Governor Pataki included the text of this retirement incentive legislation right in his message. This lends credence to the notion that this will be the retirement incentive this year. The deal appears to be done.
The PCT will continue to monitor the Albany scene for this and other legislation important to education workers.
EXECUTIVE BOARD ACTS ON
NEA/NEW YORK RESOLUTIONS
Each spring, NEA/New York holds its Delegate Assembly, a convention attended by representatives from all of the local unions belonging to the state affiliate of the National Education Association. The assembled delegates form the highest policy making body of the organization. This years meeting will be held in Albany in April.
The PCT sends ten (10) delegates to this convention, the officers plus additional delegates. The officers of our retiree chapter attend as well, although they are elected through the state organization but funded by the PCT.
Each year PCT delegates are at the forefront of the business of the convention. Our local always brings an array of resolutions, and we are always active participants in all of the debates. Everyone at the convention knows the PCT delegation.
This year we will be bringing six (6) resolutions to the Delegate Assembly which have been passed by the PCT Executive Board. They are as follows:
1- NEA/New York shall support legislation to provide the right to all public employees to have union representation at any meeting with management with the potential to become disciplinary.
2 - NEA/New York shall seek ways of working with the New York State AFL-CIO in its effort to obtain legislation to provide significant penalties for public employers who have been found to have bargained in bad faith.
3 - NEA/New York shall support legislation to require shopping malls to provide reasonable accommodations to free speech.
4 - NEA/New York shall seek and/or support legislation that would permit school employees, in districts where there is no reduction in force, who are eligible to retire to begin collecting part of their pensions while remaining employed in their current positions.
5 - NEA/New York shall seek to establish a relationship with an accredited university in the State of New York through which professional development courses could be mutually developed and offered to our membership via distance learning.
6 - NEA/New York shall have as a legislative priority the seeking of single tier retirement systems for TRS and ERS comparable to the current Tier I.
LEGISLATIVE COCKTAIL PARTY A SUCCESS
On Thursday, January 31, 2002, twenty-three PCT representatives along with their colleagues from the other NEA/New York locals on Long Island attended our annual Legislative Cocktail Party sponsored by the Long Island Regional Council of NEA/New York. This years party was held at the Woodbury Country Club.
Representatives mixed with members of the Long Island Legislative delegation for awhile after which the legislators spoke about what they saw happening in the current session of the legislature. All began with lengthy recitations of what they had done for public schools in past years. This was followed by the consensus view that this will be a lean year for state aid in Albany. The legislators were hopeful, however, that we would be able to get more state aid than proposed by Governor Pataki.
BOARD OF REGENTS APPROVES ATTENDANCE REGULATIONS
In October, the NYS Board of Regents approved a set of Regulations that will require school districts, BOCES and charter schools to enact comprehensive student attendance policies by July 2002. According to the State Education Department, the new regulation will require the policies to ensure that each pupils presence, absence or tardiness be kept in a register. Each policy must achieve the following objectives:
record attendance of students in non-departmentalized kindergarten through grades 8 once per school day;
record attendance in each period of scheduled instruction of students in grades 9-12 or in departmentalized schools at any grade level;
record absences as excused or unexcused;
establish a policy on attendance and awarding of course credits;
provide parents and each teacher a copy of the policy.
This will be an active area of PCT involvement in the days ahead.
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